Okay, so this summer’s free agency isn’t as exciting as last year’s apocalypse. There aren’t Hall of Famers available. No one is trying to team up. The Decision will just be the decisions this time. But that doesn’t mean very good players aren’t out there. And three of the biggest free agents are, quite literally, three of the biggest, a trio of centers who all have different strengths: Tyson Chandler, Nene & Marc Gasol.
All three are available to anyone interested. Gasol is just a restricted free agent (Memphis can match any offer made), while Chandler and Nene are unrestricted. There are already rumors that teams (Toronto, Sacramento) will be stepping up to the plate soon with massive offers. But if you had the choice, who would you pay? Chandler and his athleticism and shot-blocking? Gasol and his youth, brute strength and touch? Or Nene and his toughness and talent?
We argue. You decide.
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Tyson Chandler is the honey badger of the NBA. If you don’t know what that means, watch the video. If you don’t want to watch the video, just know that honey badgers have been given the title of most fearless creature in the animal kingdom. In short, they’re not the king of the savannah, but that doesn’t matter. They eat cobras, fight lions and are generally just nasty. Honey badgers don’t give an “ef.”
And that’s why Chandler is the best free agent center prospect if we ever figure out this whole “flock route” thing. He’s now been the center on a national team and NBA squad, all because he’s about winning, using all six of his fouls if need be and generally causing uncertainty when opposing players bring the ball into the paint.
While Nene and Marc Gasol are better options offensively as far as big men go, it’s Chandler who has the characteristics of a winning centerpiece (no pun intended) for a title squad. In a Ron Artest sort of way, Chandler is not one to be judged by numbers. Here’s where the honey badger parallels come into play.
Chandler won’t complain about minutes or touches, and he knows that his role and success of it depends solely on how he plays on the defensive end. He’ll take the stings of losing minutes to Ian Mahinmi if the reward is a title, just as a honey badger will take the stings of bees if it means he’ll taste the sweetness of their honey. So if you’re going to build an NBA team that has the right pieces for a championship, Tyson’s your man.